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Saturday, March 5, 2011

One Of America's Biggest Food Producing Regions Could Soon Be Under Water

One Of America's Biggest Food Producing Regions Could Soon Be Under Water

flood dakota
After a nasty winter in which winter storms blanketed large portions of the U.S., the great thaw is now threatening one of the key corn producing regions of the country.
The Dakotas, Minnesota, and Iowa are all under threat.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Observing Arctic ice-edge plankton blooms from space

Observing Arctic ice-edge plankton blooms from space
Ongoing climate-driven changes to the Arctic sea-ice could have a significant impact on the blooming of tiny planktonic plants (phytoplankton) with important implications for the Arctic ecosystem, according to new research conducted by scientists at the UK's National Oceanography Centre (NOC).
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National Ocean Observing System to see marine animal migration, adaptation strategies

National Ocean Observing System to see marine animal migration, adaptation strategies
For the first time, data from electronic tags attached to marine animals will be incorporated into the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS), a NOAA-led national partnership committed to enhance our ability to collect, deliver, and use ocean information.
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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Climate Change and the Water Crisis in the US Southwest

Climate Change and the Water Crisis in the US Southwest
Frank Ackerman, TripleCrisis: "Where and how will climate change first affect large numbers of American voters? Answering that question may be crucial to the global efforts to protect the earth's climate. The tsunami of stupidity and science denial that has washed over Washington won't be held back by earnest calculations of long-run risks, or by the potential inundation of remote island nations, or by the news that polar bears and other iconic species are endangered."
Read the Article

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Has The Earth's Sixth Mass Extinction Already Arrived

Tigers are one of Earth's most critically endangered species. Extinction of the majority of such species would indicate the sixth mass extinction is in our near future.

Berkeley CA (SPX) Mar 03, 2011 With the steep decline in populations of many animal species, from frogs and fish to tigers, some scientists have warned that Earth is on the brink of a mass extinction like those that occurred only five times before during the past 540 million years. Each of these 'Big Five' saw three-quarters or more of all animal species go extinct.
In a study to be published in the March 3 issue of the journal Nature, University of California, Berkeley, paleobiologists assess where mammals and other species stand today in terms of possible extinction, compared with the past 540 million years, and they find cause for hope as well as alarm.
"If you look only at the critically endangered mammals - those where the risk of extinction is at least 50 percent within three of their generations - and assume that their time will run out, and they will be extinct in 1,000 years, that puts us clearly outside any range of normal, and tells us that we are moving into the mass extinction realm," said principal author Anthony D. Barnosky, UC Berkeley professor of integrative biology, a curator in the Museum of Paleontology and a research paleontologist in the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology.
"If currently threatened species - those officially classed as critically endangered, endangered and vulnerable - actually went extinct, and that rate of extinction continued, the sixth mass extinction could arrive within as little as 3 to 22 centuries," he said.
Nevertheless, Barnosky added, it's not too late to save these critically endangered mammals and other such species and stop short of the tipping point. That would require dealing with a perfect storm of threats, including habitat fragmentation, invasive species, disease and global warming,
"So far, only 1 to 2 percent of all species have gone extinct in the groups we can look at clearly, so by those numbers, it looks like we are not far down the road to extinction. We still have a lot of Earth's biota to save," Barnosky said. "It's very important to devote resources and legislation toward species conservation if we don't want to be the species whose activity caused a mass extinction."
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5 Days, 50 Films, 1 Ocean

5 Days, 50 Films, 1 Ocean

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Oil and Gas Bonds: BLM Needs a Comprehensive Strategy to Better Manage Potential Oil and Gas Well Liability -- GAO

This Government Accountability Office report (GAO-11-292), dated February 25, 2011, finds that the number of oil and gas wells on leased federal land has increased dramatically.

To help manage the environmental impacts of these wells, the Department of the Interior's (Interior) Bureau of Land Management (BLM) requires oil and gas operators to reclaim disturbed land in a manner it prescribes. To help ensure operators reclaim leased land, BLM requires them to provide a bond before beginning drilling operations. BLM refers to oil and gas wells and leased land that will require reclamation as potential liabilities because BLM may have to pay for reclamation if the operators fail to do so.

GAO was asked to determine (1) BLM's policies for managing potential federal oil and gas well liability, (2) the extent to which BLM has implemented these policies, and (3) the challenges, if any, BLM faces in managing potential oil and gas well liability. GAO analyzed agency data on bonding and wells and interviewed BLM officials. We surveyed all 48 BLM field offices with an oil and gas program, and received 33 responses covering these offices.
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A toy model for forecasting global temperatures – 2011 redux, part 1

A toy model for forecasting global temperatures – 2011 redux, part 1

A little over two years ago, I wrote the following post on BNC: How hot should it have really been over the last 5 years? In it, I did some simple statistical tinkering to examine the (correlative) relationship between global temperatures and a few key factors, namely greenhouse gases, solar irradiance, and ENSO. In the next couple of posts, I’ll update the model, add a few different predictors, and correct for temporal autocorrelation. I’ll also make a prediction on how global temperatures might pan out over the coming few years.
In the 2008 post, I concluded with the following: More at link
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Research explains mystery of ocean sediment

Research explains mystery of ocean sediment
( -- New research by an international team of researchers has revealed the previously unidentified role that fish play in the production of sediments in the world's oceans

Global warming means more snowstorms: scientists

Ice storms often coat many surfaces, such as treesImage via WikipediaGlobal warming means more snowstorms: scientists
Climate change is not only making the planet warmer, it is also making snowstorms stronger and more frequent, US scientists said on Tuesday.
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Measuring methane

Structure of the methane molecule: the simples...Image via WikipediaMeasuring methane
Methane is an extremely potent greenhouse gas. Wetlands, gas hydrates, permafrost, termites, oceans, freshwater bodies, non-wetland soils, are all natural sources of atmospheric methane; however, the majority of methane presence ca n be accredited to human-related activities. These activities include: such as fossil fuel production, biomass burning, waste management and animal husbandry. The release of methane into the atmosphere by cattle and other large grazing mammals is estimated to account for 12 to 17% of the total global methane release.
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NASA to launch Earth observation satellite March 4

NASA to launch Earth observation satellite March 4
NASA on Tuesday set March 4 as the launch date for its Earth observation satellite, named Glory, after it was twice postponed last month due to technical glitches.

Land use affects the composition of the atmosphere

Land use affects the composition of the atmosphere
Tropical deforestation not only has a large impact on the carbon cycle and climate, but also affects the chemistry of the atmosphere.

Innovation Raga India Bats For Green Budget

Innovation Raga

India Bats For Green Budget

Usually, the federal government budget is an occasion for grandstanding by the Finance Minister to proclaim his credentials for being both business friendly and extremely concerned for the millions of people living below the poverty line. But in his budget for 2011-12, Finance Minister Mr. Pranab Mukherjee has revealed hi

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

How Severe Can Climate Change Become

How severe can climate change become in a warming world? Worse than anything we've seen in written history, according to results of a study appearing this week in the journal Science. An international team of scientists led by Curt Stager of Paul Smith's College, New York, has compiled four dozen paleoclimate records from sediment cores in Lake Tanganyika and other locations in Africa.
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Codexis Announces Carbon Capture Progress at ARPA-E Summit

Henkel Publishes 20th Sustainability Report

Google backs climate-change weather insurance startup

by Staff Writers San Francisco (AFP) Feb 28, 2011 Google on Monday was among investors pumping $42 million into a climate change inspired technology startup that calculates the chances of crops being ruined by weather. WeatherBill launched Total Weather Insurance in 2010 as a way for US farmers protect themselves against being devastated by weather, which the US Department of Agriculture blamed for 90 percent of crop losses last year.
"The flip flop of weather from one year to the next is the biggest challenge farmers face," said Steve Wolters, a farmer who grows corn, soybean and wheat in the US state of Ohio.
"It makes sense to me to take advantage of WeatherBill's automated weather insurance programs that pinpoint the weather conditions expected to affect my land and pay me if they happen."
WeatherBill continuously aggregates weather data and runs large-scale weather simulations on its computers.
The automated system lets farmers or others customize insurance policies to the amount of rain or seasonal temperatures they need for fields to flourish.
Those taking part in the startup's second round of funding with Google Ventures included Khosla Ventures, First Round Capital, Index Ventures, and Allen & Company. Total investment in the company was just shy of $60 million.

Hotspots Of Carbon Confusion In Indonesia Threaten To Warm The World More Quickly

According to news sources, definitions of 'natural forest' and 'peat' differ between drafts prepared by the Indonesian Government's emissions reduction taskforce and by the Ministry of Forestry. There are several key issues that need to be resolved.
by Staff Writers Nairobi, Kenya (SPX) Mar 01, 2011 Indonesia has promised to become a world leader in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In 2009, the president committed to a 26% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 to below 'business-as-usual' levels. Of this total, 14% would have to come from reducing emissions from deforestation or forest degradation. Investments by foreign governments and other bodies are expected to raise total emission reduction from 26% to 41%.

Monday, February 28, 2011

First deepwater permit approved since BP spill

First deepwater permit approved since BP spill
US regulators have approved the first deepwater drilling permit since the BP Macondo disaster last April

I Believe


NY Times Report: Fracked Water Thousands of Times More Dangerous Than They're Telling Us By Steven D. | Booman Tribune

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Recent Law Review Articles -- February 2011 from PEN by Pace Law School Library

Recent Law Review Articles -- February 2011

from PEN

Jekic, Milos. Lowering the jurisdictional bar: a call for equitable-factors analysis under CERCLA’s timing-of-review provision. 59 U. Kan. L. Rev. 157-190 (2010).

Franklin, Charles L. Dispersant scrutiny mirrors larger debate over U.S. chemical control policy. 40 Envtl. L. Rep. News & Analysis 11142-11146 (2010).

Struwe, David Robert. Muddying the waters of the Clean Water Act: applying Chevron deference to the CWA pollutant permit regulatory scheme in ... (Coeur Alaska, Inc. v. Southeast Alaska Conservation Council, 129 S. Ct. 2458, 2009.) 29 Temp. J. Sci. Tech. & Envtl. L. 171-204 (2010).

Carlarne, Cinnamon. Climate change, cultural heritage & the oceans: rethinking regulatory approaches to climate change. 17 Southeastern Envtl. L.J. 271-293 (2009).

Case, Lauren. Comment. Climate change: a new realm of tort litigation, and how to recover when the litigation heats up. 51 Santa Clara L. Rev. 265-298 (2011).

Coleman, Felicia C. and Laura E. Petes. Getting into hot water: ecological effects of climate change in marine environments. 17 Southeastern Envtl. L.J. 337-357 (2009).

Fraley, Jill M. Re-examining acts of God. 27 Pace Envtl. L. Rev. 669-690 (2010).

Griffin, Ronald C. A prairie perspective on global warming and climate change: the use of law, technology, and economics to establish private sector markets to compliment Kyoto. 17 Southeastern Envtl. L.J. 95-135 (2008).

King, Katherine. Climate change and the Inuit: a melting of actions into a cloudy mess. 17 Southeastern Envtl. L.J. 481-510 (2009).

Knox, John H. Climate change and human rights law. 50 Va. J. Int’l L. 163-218 (2009).

Leary, David. The corporatisation of international responses to climate change: the Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute. 13 Asia Pac. J. Envtl. L. 17-37 (2010).

Lovins, L. Hunter. Climate capitalism: the business case for climate protection. 27 Pace Envtl. L. Rev. 735-779 (2010).

Inabinet, Hollis. Finding common ground on shifting sands: coastal zone regulatory bodies, governance, and program effectiveness in South Carolina. 17 Southeastern Envtl. L.J. 429-456 (2009).

Thompson, Michael J., Jr. A time to protect: revising Louisiana Mineral Code Article 122 to protect coastal restoration projects. 56 Loy. L. Rev. 413-445 (2010).

Rodgers, William H., Jr. and student Anna T. Moritz. The worst case and the worst example: an agenda for any young lawyer who wants to save the world from climate chaos. 17 Southeastern Envtl. L.J. 295-335 (2009).

Recent developments. 40 Envtl. L. Rep. News & Analysis 11161-11174 (2010).

Recent journal literature. 40 Envtl. L. Rep. News & Analysis 11175-11176 (2010).

Wood, Mary Christina. “You can’t negotiate with a beetle”: environmental law for a new ecological age. 50 Nat. Resources J. 167-210 (2010).

Tabau, Anne-Sophie and Sandrine Maljean-Dubois. Non-compliance mechanisms: interaction between the Kyoto Protocol system and the European Union. 21 Eur. J. Int’l L. 749-763 (2010).

Rourke, Jim. Note. Letters of inconsistency: Southeast Resource Recovery, Inc. v. South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control and loss of local discretion in landfill siting. (Southeast Resource Recovery, Inc. v. South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, 595 S.E.2d 468, 2004.) 17 Southeastern Envtl. L.J. 397-427 (2009).

Gowder, W. Andrew, Jr. and Bryan W. Wenter. Recent developments in exactions and impact fees: who pays for new schools, fair housing, and clean air? 42 Urb. Law. 615-625 (2010).

Henderson, Wesley E. Annexation in South Carolina. 17 Southeastern Envtl. L.J. 235-269 (2008).

Hirokawa, Keith H. and Ira Gonzalez. Regulating vacant property. 42 Urb. Law. 627-637 (2010).

Salkin, Patricia E. No protectable property interest in making land use decisions and other ethics in land use issues 2009-2010. 42 Urb. Law. 649-663 (2010).

Sullivan, Edward J. Recent developments in comprehensive planning law. 42 Urb. Law. 665-676 (2010).

Wilson, Paul D. and Noah C. Shaw. The judge as cartoon character whose hat flies into the air: the “shocks the conscience” standard in recent substantive due process land use litigation. 42 Urb. Law. 677-691 (2010).

Kunoy, Bjørn, Martin Heinesen and Finn Mørk. Appraisal of applicable depth constraint for the purpose of establishing the outer limits of the continental shelf. 41 Ocean Dev. & Int’l L. 357-379 (2010).

Dinkins, Carol E., George O. Wilkinson, Margaret E. Peloso and Thomas S. Meriwether. The role of public and private litigants in promoting environmental corporate social responsibility. 21 Fordham Envtl. L. Rev. 123-156 (2010).

Symposium. Environmental Lawsuits and Corporate Social Responsibility: The Role of Litigation in Promoting Good Environmental Practice. Articles by Hope M. Babcock, Michael Barsa, David Dana, Carol E. Dinkins, George O. Wilkinson, Margaret E. Peloso, Thomas S. Meriwether, Anthony Z. Roisman (with student Alexander Wolff), Elizabeth Burleson, Diana Pei Wu and Lakshman Guruswamy. 21 Fordham Envtl. L. Rev. 1-237 (2010).

Chircop, Aldo. Regional cooperation in marine environmental protection in the South China Sea: a reflection on new directions for marine conservation. 41 Ocean Dev. & Int’l L. 334-356 (2010).

Freeman, Mike, Stephen Gidiere and Mary Samuels. The oil spill’s impact on Gulf Coast oysters. 40 Envtl. L. Rep. News & Analysis 11097-11099 (2010).

Klein, Natalie. Whales and tuna: the past and future of litigation between Australia and Japan. 21 Geo. Int’l Envtl. L. Rev. 143-217 (2009).

Malloy, Katherine M. California’s Marine Life Protection Act: a review of the marine protected areas proposal process for the North Central Coast region. 17 Southeastern Envtl. L.J. 201-233 (2008).

Sielen, Alan. The new international rules on ocean dumping: promise and performance. 21 Geo. Int’l Envtl. L. Rev. 295-336 (2009).

Keiter, Robert B. The national park system: visions for tomorrow. 50 Nat. Resources J. 71-110 (2010).

Anderson, Robert T. Indian water rights, practical reasoning, and negotiated settlements. 98 Cal. L. Rev. 1133-1163 (2010).

Coglianese, Matthew P. The importance of determining potential chronic natural resource damages from the Deepwater Horizon accident. 40 Envtl. L. Rep. News & Analysis 11100-11105 (2010).

Modernizing the NEPA Process in the Context of the Gulf Disaster. James McElfish, moderator; Monica Goldberg, Edward E. Boling and Tom Simpson, panelists. 40 Envtl. L. Rep. News & Analysis 11147-11160 (2010).

and more

CLIMATE-CHANGE UPDATE: Bizarre Weather, Destroyed Crops, And No More Right Whales

CLIMATE-CHANGE UPDATE: Bizarre Weather, Destroyed Crops, And No More Right Whales

from Green Sheet

Survey Finds More Sea Islands Disappear In China

File image

Beijing (XNA) Feb 28, 2011 A five-year government survey finds that China faces a worsening problem over the disappearance of sea islands caused by disorderly and crude exploitation. Reclamation, sand dredging, and bombing islands are some of the destructive human activities that have caused the disappearance of islands, according to the survey, conducted by China's State Oceanic Administration (SOA).
In addition, the survey, which aims to document information about China's coast, sea islands, and inter-tidal regions, found that longer natural coastlines were converted into man-made structures over the past several years as urban development and port construction picked up.
Using a high-resolution remote satellite and aerial remote sensing, the survey obtained full information on the distribution of coastal resources.
The SOA said that a directory of China's sea islands would be published in the near future, which would provide the latest and most comprehensive coastal information.
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Marine 'Networks' Can Protect Fish Stocks

The connection between fish larvae that are swept in from the South China Sea and the Solomon Islands to the the 'Coral Triangle' located between Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines is a subject great interest, as they help to demonstrate the critical interconnectedness between these ecosystems. A paper on this subject titled "Connectivity and the development of population genetic structure in Indo-West Pacific coral reef communities" by Johnathan Kool, Claire Paris, Paul Barber and Robert Cowen is featured in the March 2011 issue of the journal Global Ecology and Biogeography. Credit: Christopher Bartlett

Miami FL (SPX) Feb 28, 2011 University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science faculty were part of an international scientific team to show that strong links between the corals reefs of the South China Sea, West Pacific and Coral Triangle hold the key to preserving fish and marine resources in the Asia-Pacific region. Rosenstiel School researchers Drs. Claire Paris and Robert Cowen and colleagues from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University and University of California - Los Angeles, have established that the richest marine region on Earth - the Coral Triangle between Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines - depends vitally for its diversity and resilience on coral and fish larvae swept in from the South China Sea and Solomon Islands.
"By evaluating the directionality of larval transport over multiple generations, we could describe the signature of the extraordinary genetic diversity of the Coral Triangle. Preserving diversity is key to the health of marine systems," said Claire Paris, Rosenstiel School assistant professor of Applied Marine Physics. "This kind of work will help us anticipate and manage changes of connectivity networks in the future."
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DLR Researchers Contribute New Insights On Changes In The Ozone Layer

DLR Researchers Contribute New Insights On Changes In The Ozone Layer

Measurements by GOME-2 (Global Ozone Monitoring Experiment), an atmospheric sensor on board the EUMETSAT MetOp-A satellite, make it possible to determine the thickness of the Ozone Layer, that is, the total amount of ozone in the atmosphere [in dobson units; DU]. This image shows the Ozone Hole over the south polar region from 1 to 3 October 2010, with ozone figures substantially below 150 dobson units. The Ozone Hole extends across most of Antarctica. Credit: DLR.
by Staff Writers Berlin, Germany (SPX) Feb 28, 2011 German Aerospace Center researchers have been instrumental in the preparation of a report on the changes in the Ozone Layer for the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The report was published online by the Geneva-based WMO in January. Recent estimates suggest that, by the middle of the 21st century, the thickness of Ozone Layer will be the same as in the early 1980s. "This positive development is due to the successful regulation of the production and use of substances containing fluoride, chlorine and bromine - for example, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) - through the Montreal Protocol of 1987 and subsequent international agreements," explained Martin Dameris from the DLR Institute of Atmospheric Physics.
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Sunday, February 27, 2011

A special report on feeding the world Plagued by politics

Biofuels are an example of what not to do

Plagued by politics

The wrong shade of green

“THIS is the craziest thing we’re doing,” says Peter Brabeck, the chairman of Nestlé. He is talking about government biofuels targets which require a certain proportion of national energy needs to be met from renewable fuels, most of them biofuels (ie, ethyl alcohol made from crops, usually maize or sugar).
The targets are ambitious. Brazil, Japan, Indonesia and the European Union all say biofuels must supply 10% of energy demand for transport by 2020. China’s target for that date is 5%. America aspires to meet 30% of such needs from biofuels by 2030.
Because the energy market is worth vastly more than the market for food, even relatively small targets translate into huge demand for crops. Ethanol currently accounts for just 8% of America’s fuel for vehicles, but it consumes almost 40% of America’s enormous maize crop. World ethanol production increased fivefold
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Regulation Lax as Gas Wells’ Tainted Water Hits Rivers New York Times

Regulation Lax as Gas Wells’ Tainted Water Hits Rivers New York Times
 The American landscape is dotted with hundreds of thousands of new wells and drilling rigs, as the country scrambles to tap into this century’s gold rush — for natural gas.
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Rare, Unique Seeds Arrive at Svalbard Vault, as Crises Threaten World Crop Collections ScienceDaily

Svalbard Global Seed VaultImage via WikipediaScienceDaily (Feb. 25, 2011) — The Svalbard Global Seed Vault (SGSV) celebrated its third anniversary February 24 with the arrival of seeds for rare lima beans, blight-resistant cantaloupe, and progenitors of antioxidant-rich red tomatoes from Peru and the Galapagos Islands. The arrival of these collections, including many drought- and flood-resistant varieties, comes at a time when natural and human-made risks to agriculture have reinforced the critical need to secure all the world's food crop varieties.
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